Leadership in Organizations

Answer these essay questions:Essay #1: Case Study: Consolidated ProductsConsolidated Products is a medium-sized manufacturer of consumer products with non-unionized production workers. Ben Samuels was a plant manager for Consolidated Products for 10 years, and he was well liked by the employees. They were grateful for the fitness center he built for employees, and they enjoyed the social activities sponsored by the plant several times a year, including company picnics and holiday parties. He knew most of the workers by name, and he spent part of each day walking around the plant to visit with them and ask about their families or hobbies.Ben believed that it was important to treat employees properly so they would have a sense of loyalty to the company. He tried to avoid any layoffs when production demand was slack, figuring that the company could not afford to lose skilled workers who are so difficult to replace. The workers knew that if they had a special problem, Ben would try to help them. For example, when someone was injured but wanted to continue working, Ben found another job in the plant that the person could do despite having a disability. Ben believed that if you treat people right, they will do a good job for you without close supervision or prodding. Ben applied the same principle to his supervisors, and he mostly left them alone to run their departments as they saw fit. He did not set objectives and standards for the plant, and he never asked the supervisors to develop plans for improving productivity and product quality.Under Ben, the plant had the lowest turnover among the company’s five plants, but the second worst record for costs and production levels. When another firm acquired the company, Ben was asked to take early retirement, and Phil Jones was brought in to replace him.Phil had a growing reputation as a manager who could get things done, and he quickly began making changes. Costs were cut by trimming a number of activities, such as the fitness center at the plant, company picnics and parties, and the human relations training programs for supervisors. Phil believed that training supervisors to be supportive was a waste of time. His motto was: “If employees don’t want to do the work, get rid of them and find somebody else who does.” Supervisors were instructed to establish high-performance standards for their departments and insist that people achieve them. A computer monitoring system was introduced so that the output of each worker could be checked closely against the standards. Phil told his supervisors to give any worker who had substandard performance one warning, then if performance did not improve within two weeks, to fire the person. Phil believed that workers don’t respect a supervisor who is weak and passive. When Phil observed a worker wasting time or making a mistake, he would reprimand the person right on the spot to set an example. Phil also checked closely on the performance of his supervisors. Demanding objectives were set for each department, and weekly meetings were held with each supervisor to review department performance. Finally, Phil insisted that supervisors check with him first before taking any significant actions that deviated from established plans and policies.As another cost-cutting move, Phil reduced the frequency of equipment maintenance, which required machines to be idled when they could be productive. Because the machines had a good record of reliable operation, Phil believed that the current maintenance schedule was excessive and was cutting into production. Finally, when business was slow for one of the product lines, Phil laid off workers rather than finding something else for them to do.As another cost-cutting move, Phil reduced the frequency of equipment maintenance, which required machines to be idled when they could be productive. Because the machines had a good record of reliable operation, Phil believed that the current maintenance schedule was excessive and was cutting into production. Finally, when business was slow for one of the product lines, Phil laid off workers rather than finding something else for them to do.By the end of Phil’s first year as plant manager, production costs were reduced by 20 percent and production output was up by 10 percent. However, three of his seven supervisors left to take other jobs, and turnover was also high among the machine operators. Some of the turnover was due to workers who were fired, but competent machine operators were also quitting, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to find any replacements for them. Finally, talk of unionizing was increasing among the workers.QuestionsDescribe and compare the managerial behavior of Ben and Phil. To what extent does each manager display specific relations behaviors (supporting, developing, recognizing) and specific task behaviors (clarifying, planning, monitoring)? To what extent does each manager use participative or inspirational leadership?Compare Ben and Phil in terms of their influence on employee attitudes, short-term performance, and long-term plant performance, and explain the reasons for the differences.If you were selected to be the manager of this plant, what would you do to achieve both high employee satisfaction and performance?Essay #2: Case Study: Air Force Supply SquadronColonel Pete Novak was assigned to command an air force squadron that airlifted supplies to combat units during the Korean War. The squadron had more than 200 men and several cargo planes. When he assumed command, the situation was bleak. They were short of supplies, personnel, and replacements. Organization and coordination were poor, and there was little cooperation and teamwork among different sections. Morale was low due to the unrelenting workload, the constant bickering and disagreements, and the stress of flying into combat zones.Colonel Novak held a meeting of the squadron to introduce himself and talk about how important their mission was to the success of the war effort. He talked about how the men in the front lines were counting on the squadron to bring them the supplies and ammunition they needed to keep the enemy from overrunning the country. He reminded them that every man had a vital function in the operation of the squadron.Then Colonel Novak set out to learn about more about the men in his unit, beginning with the officers. He held frequent staff meetings with the section heads and some key noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to discuss the methods used to carry out the mission of the squadron. He visited the enlisted men at work and off duty, talking to them and showing a personal interest in them. He listened to their complaints, and whenever possible tried to deal with their concerns about the poor living conditions at the base. He flew along with the airplane crews on some of the supply missions. On one occasion, when supplies were desperately needed at the front lines and the squadron was shorthanded, he pitched in and worked beside the men all during the night to load the planes.It was not long before Colonel Novak had learned each person’s name, what his job was, and something about his background. As he found out more about the capabilities of the men, he reorganized the squadron to place people where the best use could be made of their skills and experience. In staff meetings, disagreements were discussed and worked out, and responsibilities were assigned when all concerned were present. Authority was clearly delegated to reduce confusion and duplication of orders. The NCOs were held responsible for the actions of their men and, within limits, their decisions were enforced without question.Within two months, the effects of the changes were evident. The officers and enlisted men learned what was expected of them and began to see themselves as an essential part of a well-run organization. They began to take pride in their ability to accomplish their mission despite the hardships. Morale and teamwork improved. Before long the squadron became one of the most efficient in Korea.Questions:What effective leadership behaviors did Colonel Novak exhibit?What does this case illustrate about effective leadership?Compare the leadership behavior in this case with the behavior in the preceding case. Essay #3: Case Study: Ultimate Office ProductsUltimate Office Products was an old, established manufacturing company in the turbulent office products industry. Discount merchandisers and office product superstores were spreading rapidly and altering the traditional distribution channels once dominated by wholesalers and smaller retail stores. The growing power of the superstores was forcing manufacturers to improve customer service. The traditional manufacturers were being challenged by new companies more willing to cut prices and use technologies favored by the superstores, such as electronic orders and billing. Ultimate Office Products was losing market share and profits were declining.Richard Kelly was the director of information systems, a newly created position in the company. When the CEO met with Richard to discuss his new responsibilities and objectives, she explained that it was essential to speed up order processing and improve customer service. Richard knew that the order processing system used by the company was obsolete. He prepared a plan to automate the system and got approval from the CEO for it. Then, he purchased new computer workstations and a software package to support them. The software would enable customers to make electronic orders, and it would improve order processing, billing, and inventory control. However, months after the equipment and software arrived, it was still waiting to be used. The managers from sales, production, accounting, shipping, and customer service could not agree about the requirements of the new system, which was necessary to get it operating. These managers were Richard’s peers, and he had no direct authority over them. Even though he encouraged cooperation, meetings among the managers usually ended with heated accusations about who was responsible for the company’s problems. Most of the managers disagreed about the reason for the delays in filling orders, and some questioned the need for an expensive new system. Meanwhile, the CEO was becoming impatient about the lack of progress. She made it clear that, after spending a small fortune on new technology, she expected Richard to find a way to resolve the problem. Richard decided it was time to take a different approach.His first step was to gather more information about the reasons for delays in processing and filling orders. He began by having his staff map the workflow from the time orders were received until the filled orders were shipped. As he suspected, many unnecessary activities created bottlenecks that could be eliminated to speed up the process. The problems extended across functional boundaries and required changes in all departments. The preliminary results were presented to the CEO, who agreed on the need for dramatic improvements and authorized Richard to begin reengineering the process. Despite having the support of the CEO, Richard knew that widespread commitment would be needed for major changes to be successful. Richard met with the department managers to get their assistance in forming some cross-functional task forces. Although he knew that one task force would probably be enough to determine what changes were needed, he wanted to involve more people in the change process so that they would understand and support it. An outside consultant was secured to advise the task forces in their work. Each task force examined a different aspect of the problem. They analyzed processes, met with key customers to learn what they wanted, and visited other companies to learn how they processed orders more efficiently. As people began working together to understand the system, they began to realize how serious the problems were. The participants were able to put aside their functional biases and cooperate in finding ways to improve efficiency and customer service. Each team made recommendations to the steering committee, composed of Richard and the department managers. The CEO also attended these meetings to emphasize their importance. When one of the department managers opposed a change, everyone in the meeting looked at the CEO, who made it clear that she supported the task force recommendation. Within a year, the company eliminated many of the steps formerly required to process an order, and the average number of days to fill an order was reduced by nearly half. Many more orders were being made electronically, and most mistakes in the billing process were eliminated. As people discovered that they could actually change things for the better, many of them volunteered to serve on teams that would continue to look for ways to improve quality and customer service.QuestionsWhy did Richard fail in his first attempt to implement change?Identify subsequent actions by Richard that were more effective for implementing change in the organization.Evaluate the change leadership provided by the CEO.Essay #4: What are some reasons why efforts to change organizations often fail? What are some guidelines to help leaders implement change? Identify several major change efforts at Microsoft, when Steve Ballmer was CEO, which failed? For each, discuss the change management issues that you believe contributed to them.

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